In Morris Gleitzman's Two Weeks with the Queen, 12-year-old Australian boy Colin Mudford goes from being jealous of his little brother Luke to facing the prospect of Luke's death after the latter is diagnosed with cancer. The plot takes listeners to England, where Colin is sent to live with his aunt and uncle. There he must confront the reality of AIDS and mortality in addition to his brother's illness.
The audiobook's emotional content is obviously heavy, but Gleitzman's performance of his own young adult novel highlights Colin's spunky and humorous voice, which serves to lighten the tone without sacrificing the controversial book's gravity.
I need to speak to you urgently about my brother Luke. He's got cancer and the doctors in Australia are being really slack. If I could borrow your top doctor for a few days I know he/she would fix things up in no time. Of course Mum and Dad would pay his/her fares even if it meant selling the car or getting a loan. Please contact me at the above address urgently.
PS: This is not a hoax.
Ring the above number and Aunty Iris will tell you.
Hang up if a man answers.
If you want something done properly, Colin reckons, go straight to the top!
Morris Gleitzman is one of the world's best-loved children's authors. Two Weeks with the Queen deals with serious issues in a fun, accessible way.